Tag Archives: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Stem Cells versus Progeria

Children with progeria, a rare disorder that causes premature aging, die in their teens of ailments that are common in octogenarians: heart failure and stroke. Kan Cao, a University of Maryland assistant professor of cell biology and molecular genetics, urgently wants to help find a cure. Cao and her colleagues have taken a big step in that direction, showing that a toxic protein destroys muscle cells inside the patients’ arteries. The researchers suspect the damaged arteries are more prone to failure.

The researchers conducted their experiments on smooth muscle cells that they genetically engineered. “This gives us a very good
Read More…

Stem cells show promise in cartilage repair

Johns Hopkins tissue engineers have used tiny artificial fiber scaffolds thousands of times smaller than a human hair to help coax stem cells into developing into cartilage, the shock-absorbing lining of elbows and knees that often wears thin from injury or age.

Reporting online June 4 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, investigators say they have produced an important component of cartilage in both laboratory and animal models. While the findings are still years away from use in people, the researchers say the results hold promise for devising new techniques to help the millions who
Read More…

Stem cells could drive hepatitis research forward

Hepatitis C, an infectious disease that can cause inflammation and organ failure, has different effects on different people. But no one is sure why some people are very susceptible to the infection, while others are resistant.

Scientists believe that if they could study liver cells from different people in the lab, they could determine how genetic differences produce these varying responses. However, liver cells are difficult to obtain and notoriously difficult to grow in a lab dish because they tend to lose their normal structure and function when removed from the body.

Now, researchers from MIT, Rockefeller University and the Medical
Read More…

Predict graft-versus-host disease in men

If there’s one single image that universally connotes death, it’s that of a skeleton. But in the living human body, bones are a beehive of activity that, at the cellular level, is as lively and intricate as any dance troupe could perform.

Within the hollows of the long bones dwells a spongy tissue called marrow, which hosts stem cells responsible for the production of both red and a variety of white blood cells. The latter are the warriors, messengers, sentries and medics that compose our immune system. White blood cells defend against microbial invaders and scour our bodies for suspicious
Read More…

Scientists bypass stem cells to create nervous system cells

Mouse skin cells can be converted directly into cells that become the three main parts of the nervous system, according to researchers at the Stanford University School of Medicine. The finding is an extension of a previous study by the same group showing that mouse and human skin cells can be directly converted into functional neurons.

The multiple successes of the direct conversion method could refute the idea that pluripotency (a term that describes the ability of stem cells to become nearly any cell in the body) is necessary for a cell to transform from one cell type to another.
Read More…